this, with photos of Harber, were introduced in
multi-media advertising, such as local movie theaters.
of a more global plan was this ad where the role in
Colleyville seemed somewhat diminished versus a
commitment to NE Tarrant, America and the World!
FBCC members opposed the concept of moving the church.
Although a congregational vote turned down Harber's
expansion approach, four members, Joe Deupree, Patsy
Smith, Skip Mattson and Danny Walker, seen above, had
their membership at FBCC "revoked" because
of their "disruptive opposition".
Harber, who continued to have his personal ministry
"Got Life," radio programs, books and
Internet sales of items, also said he wanted to move
FBCC because the church needed new facilities due to
tremendous growth. When a vote of members went
against him, he oversaw a quick change of the by-laws
providing him with greatly expanded power and
new by-laws did away with the Board of Trustees and replaced
it with a "Leadership Board" of Harber and six hand
picked members. Harber became inaccessible to media and
even members of FBCC. He moved his offices from the church and
brought on hire guns to run his PR and provide legal
interference, both with previous ties to the Benny Hinn
Harber was previously a professor of evangelism at
Southwestern Seminary with close ties to the President Paige
Patterson and former President Ken Hemphill. It was
Hemphill who told the story of how Harber was "house
hunting" and got lost when he stopped at the offices of
the Colleyville First Baptist only to find out for the
"first time" the church was actively seeking a new
pastor. In July 2001, Harber was hired as the Senior Pastor of
FBCC. A number of members often questioned the coincidence of
the initial visit to FBCC.
President Patterson offered this viewpoint as part of
his contribution in the book "Who Runs the
said that four members of the FBCC congregation were
divisive because of their stated positions opposing
his. Their membership at the church was revoked.
However, in an interview in the fall of 2000,
Patterson noted that it was "more difficult to be
disciplined by a church than it is to be disciplined
by the Lions Club."
(As a eight year member of the Colleyville
Lions Club, I can tell Dr. Patterson he is mistaken in
his assumptions below, otherwise some of us Lions
would have been already out!)
|The following excerpts are taken from an interview with Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, conducted by Dr. Mark Dever and Mr. Matt Schmucker of the Center for Church Reform
in the Fall of 2000.
Patterson: Here's the pity of it. It is easier to get into a church than it is to join the Rotary Club. It is more difficult to be disciplined by a church than it is to be disciplined by the Lions Club. If you're a member of the Lions Club (if I understand it correctly) and you miss four weeks in a row, you're out. If you're out of town for four weeks in a row, you better find a Lions Club in that city wherever you are and attend or you're going to be out. So, the sad state of affairs that exists in many of our churches now is church membership is meaningless. Therefore there is nothing appealing to the people on the block as they look at the church members who live there. They look no different than the others.
Harber announced his passion for golf at the
Hooter's Tournament, his hobby seems benign
when compared to Paige Patterson's reputation
for killing numerous big game animals in
1999, two members of the Mainstream Baptist
Rick McClatchy and Dr. Bruce Prescott, wrote
an article titled "
How the SBC has Changed
( Southern Baptist Convention) outlining
Patterson's plan to take over the SBC and his
position on the role of the Baptist minister
versus that of congregational member rights.
In the late 1970s two men, Paige Patterson and Paul
Pressler, devised a plan to takeover the Southern Baptist Convention and change its direction. Their strategy inserted an alien winner-take-all system of power politics into the life of our denomination.
Patterson-Pressler coalition changed the role of the pastor in Baptist church life.
In traditional Baptist thought all members of the church were seen as equal ministers with different spiritual gifts — a doctrine referred to as the priesthood of believers. The role of the pastor in this context was to preach and teach, to train the congregation for service, to care for the needs of the congregation, and to provide administrative coordination to the work of the church. Pastors were viewed as servants of the church.
The Patterson-Pressler coalition insists that the pastor is the unquestioned ruler of the church.
Bruce Prescott is Host of "Religious Talk" on KREF radio at 11:00 each Sunday
Morning and Executive Director of the Mainstream Baptist
former President of the Southwestern Seminary, Ken
Hemphill, and Frank Harber are also listed as the
co-founders of the "Got Life Ministries". Among
items for sale on their Website is a leadership program for
The Leader G.E.A.R. is designed for those in
leadership positions who will be teaching the got
life?� system. Each LEADER G.E.A.R. contains:
(3) Action G.E.A.R. (3) Training G.E.A.R. (2) 70
minute Training Videos with Dr. Ken Hemphill and
Dr. Frank Harber - These power programs can be
used as the teaching material and are creatively
formatted in 8 segments that closely follow the
TRAINING G.E.A.R. The videos give the viewer important
insight into creative evangelism. (1) Promo Video -
this short program is designed to be used to create
excitement about using the got life?� system to
give life to your community. (2) Audio CDs from the
soundtrack of the Training Video for additional use in
memorizing the material. (1) Multimedia G.E.A.R. -
this powerful multimedia CD uses animation, sound and
creative design that can be used when teaching or
presenting the got life?
active in "Got Life," and a former professor at the
seminary, FBCC was Dr. Frank Harber's first time to pastor a
Prior to accepting the position, Harber was quoted in Christianity
Today in April 2000
Sincerity doesn't determine truth, however. One can be sincerely convinced of the truth—and be sincerely wrong. For example, many evil men such as Hitler were very sincere in their beliefs. God judges people based on truth, not opinions—and that truth is Jesus Christ.
After a short time at FBCC, Harber provided the following
quote to the Baptist Standard in September 2002.
"I had never pastored before, had never wanted to be a pastor, and this church had been a victim of infighting and a declining budget and its facilities were in bad shape," Harber explained.
"I've been ADD since I was a kid; I am hyper, driven," Harber said. "I am in my element here. The work is never done; nobody can do the job. But it's a privilege. I would do it for free."
Harber's first effort as pastor resulted in a power grab
designed to replace the authority of the congregation with the
pastor as the unquestioned ruler of the church. This author
does not pretend to be qualified to offer an opinion of the
righteousness of either, however one thing appears very clear
in this case. Dr. Harber's adaptation of Patterson's
teaching at FBCC (that his authority was not to be
challenged), had the effect of a dynamic evangelist becoming
estranged from many of his own members.
He became more disconnected from reality as by-laws were
changed in a scam of a vote by members and surrounded himself
with individuals dedicated to protecting the
"Imperial Ministry of Frank Harber." How else
could one explain a Baptist minister from Texas giving an
interview to a newspaper about his entry into a Hooter's Golf
Tournament sponsored by a local casino? Why would the same
minister, within the same month, orchestrate a land swap that
could not possibly pass the smell good test at any church in
the nation, much less the possible fraud implications,
unless he believed he was not accountable to any mortal?
In this author's view there is a distinct difference seen in
the eyes of the young pastor at the Colleyville Lions event in
2001, versus the pastor seen later in slick marketing
materials with an arrogant attitude and a refusal to talk to
The struggle continues in Southern Baptist Churches with
ministers adopting Patterson's concept of their role versus a
traditional approach where the pastor is the servant of the
congregation. Potentially as a message from hundreds of
member congregations, at the 2006 SBC meeting, Patterson's chosen
candidate for SBC President, the Rev. Ronnie Floyd of Springdale, AR, was defeated by an overwhelming margin on the first ballot by South Carolina pastor Frank Page.
The struggle at FBCC may be just beginning depending on the
outcome with the six people on the Leadership Board. If
they continue in their attempt to reserve all power, the
"infighting" , that Harber referred to
initially, will look like a love fest compared to what is
likely to occur.
One of the four "dechurched" members, Joe
Deupree, told LNO, "I would like to see the church return
to a community church and the illegal bylaws adopted under Dr.
Harber's leadership be declared null and void. While I
know the legitimate 1990s bylaws require some tweaking, it
should be done in a deliberate manner with input from the
congregation. A strong Board of Deacons should
materialize and rebuild what is traditionally a First Baptist
Church of any city."
Hopefully, the Leadership Board will recognize the potential
outcome of a struggle at FBCC and seek to salvage something
better out of an otherwise unfortunate event.
The resignation of Frank Harber from FBCC has not and should
not be met, by his detractors, with gleeful jubilation.
This phase for Harber and his family is likely to be only a
small bump for the talented preacher and his beautiful family.
While there are major upheavals potentially still facing FBCC,
Dr. Harber should consider starting his own mission church,
there are certainly a number of empty buildings in
Colleyville, (Krogers, Eckerds?). He obviously has
passionate supporters and a message to deliver. Many members
do not believe Dr. Harber should have resigned, that he has
done anything wrong and that they would love to follow Dr.
Harber to another ministry. Dr. Harber could start with
a solid base and members would clearly know up front his
vision of the pastor's role.
This would allow
those with more traditional views for FBCC have their church
back in peace and welcome back the members that left because of the
internal disputes with Dr. Harber.
In the meantime, imagine both a revitalized FBCC and a new Colleyville Got Life Ministry
Church. It would be a blessing for all members,
regardless of their position, and we would keep Dr. Harber's considerable talent in the
our area as a powerful minister of the Gospel.